Rondo Initiates Post-Practice Scrimmage
WALTHAM, Mass. – Quick: What are the top five things an NBA player does immediately after practice ends?
Alright, you've put enough thought into that. Let’s assume that list consists of the following: go through quick individual shooting drills, watch film, shower, get a massage, and who knows, maybe play some video games.
Point is, working out tends to cease shortly after the head coach blows his final whistle. That, however, was not the case Friday afternoon at the Celtics practice facility.
Nine Celtics and one of the team’s assistant coaches remained on the floor for nearly an hour after practice had ended to participate in a full-fledged scrimmage… referees and all.
Kris Humphries, Jared Sullinger, Courtney Lee, Gerald Wallace, Kelly Olynyk, MarShon Brooks, Keith Bogans, Phil Pressey and assistant coach Walter McCarty chose to pass on their normal post-practice routine in favor of the scrimmage that was refereed by assistant coaches Jay Larranaga and Jamie Young. They opted to do so not for themselves, but for the betterment of the 10th participant who requested the game: Rajon Rondo.
“It’s basically helping [Rondo] get his wind, get his rhythm back on the court, just help him get going back,” Wallace said of the post-practice scrimmage. “This is what he needs. With the games that we’ve had, we haven’t really had time in practice to go full-court or put stress on guys, so this is an opportunity for him to be able to get up and down the court.”
Sullinger, who spoke immediately after Wallace, made a similar statement to the media.
“The main reason I stepped out there was to try to build his confidence and get his conditioning back, so that when he is back on the court, he’s back to 100 percent,” Sullinger said.
The media missed much of the scrimmage due to other players and Stevens speaking to the media while the players ran up and down the court. Celtics.com, however, stepped out of the coach’s media session specifically to watch Rondo play.
To the casual eye, Rondo looked pretty good. He made a drive-and-dish to Sullinger for a 3-pointer and also put home a driving, left-handed layup. He did fall asleep at the other end of the court on one play, allowing Pressey to slip free on a back-cut for an uncontested layup. Overall, though, he looked pretty comfortable on the floor while playing at full speed.
Wallace, who was on the floor for the entire scrimmage and made a few plays himself, gave his take on what he saw out of No. 9.
“He looks pretty good,” Wallace said. “His timing is off. He’s so used to doing a lot of the things that he did in the past and it’s not all back yet, but he looked comfortable, especially guarding screen-and-rolls.”
Rondo may be a bit rusty, but that isn’t preventing him from making an impact on his teammates on the court. Sullinger played nearly 40 games with Rondo last season and today’s scrimmage reminded him of how beneficial it is to have the point guard on the court.
“He makes the game a lot easier, especially in the pick-and-roll,” Sullinger said. “Jordan (Crawford) makes the game easy as well, but Rondo is known especially for the pick-and-roll.”
Wallace has a slightly different take. He’s in the infancy stages of learning what it’s like to be on the floor with Rondo. He said that playing with the All-Star point guard is a unique experience compared to the rest of his 13-year career.
“It’s different, because he likes to pass,” said Wallace. “He’ll throw the pass in difficult situations. He makes passes that you’re not even looking for and not thinking about.
“That’s one of the things that playing with him, you have to get used to, is that he’s always going to pass the ball. If you’re open or even if he thinks you’re open, he’s going to throw the ball.”
Rondo’s mindset and his pinpoint passing have been missing from Boston’s scrimmages over the first two-plus months of the season. Not anymore.
He's back on the practice court, and his teammates are doing everything they can to get him ready to be back on the game court - even if that means delaying their their typical post-practice activities.